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Play eSports & Get Your Degree!


For years now, when not dealing with your school responsibilities, you have probably been playing your favorite video games. Hopefully, you are doing quite well in both areas. Of course, your parents are leaning heavily on you to do better in the education arena.

What would you say about the opportunity to change your parent’s minds about your video gaming?

As you may or may not know, proficient video gamers can make a lot of money playing eSports. Did you know that a “middle of the road” professional gamer can earn a base salary of $50K-$75K playing video games in a top eSports league? That’s the salary portion only. After factoring in a proportional share of any purse money earned, it becomes clear why eSports has become so popular over the last five years.

We do not suggest that you forego college to become an eSports professional. However, we are suggesting that there might be a way for you to finance your college education by playing eSports. Do you see where this is going? Can you see the potential for delighting your parents by using your video gaming prowess to get your degree?

In the following sections, the discussion will focus on ways you can use eSports video game playing to finance your degree. We will also cover the opportunity you might have to get a degree in—you guessed it—eSports.

What Are eSports?

Before laying out your eSports money-making opportunity, it’s important to take a quick look at what exactly encompasses electronic sports, or eSports for short.

Back in the “old days,” arcades held competitions and tournaments for video game players. Teens would line up around the block to compete in games like Centipede, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Asteroids. Maybe a small prize package and bragging rights around the neighborhood were at stake but that was it.

Fast-forward to today and video gamers are still lining up to compete in competitions and tournaments against other gamers. However, a lot has changed since the early days.

eSports represent a professional level of video gaming. It involves individuals and teams from all over the world competing for big prize money. What’s different is:

  • The competitions and tournaments are well-organized
  • The prize money can run into millions for single major international competitions
  • Event organizers and players can make lots of money from sponsors
  • Players can be ranked locally, nationally, and internationally
  • Individual players can make millions a year at the highest levels of eSports

The games have changed, too. Today’s eSports events will often feature popular games like Dota 2, Call of Duty, Fortnite, Starcraft II, Overwatch, Valorant, and League of Legends.

What’s at stake now? According to the data-mining company Statista, the eSports industry had a value of around $1.0 billion by the end of 2020. Statista further estimates that the number will grow to about $1.6 billion by the end of 2023. That’s industry growth of 60% over three years.

How To Make Money for College Playing eSports

Due to the growing popularity of eSports throughout the world, it’s pretty easy to find organized professional leagues and events at all levels, be it local, national, regional, or international. The bigger the events and leagues, the more money available for players. How can you make this work for you?

First and foremost, you had better be a pretty good gamer if you want to make money playing video games. It’s incredible how good so many gamers have gotten over the years.

To dip your toes into the eSports world, we recommend you test the eSports waters by entering a few local tournaments as a singles player. This would allow you to see just how good you really are versus some of the best in the area. If you pull in some purse money by chance, it’s all good.

What you are ultimately looking for is exposure. You want exposure in front of sponsors and eSports teams that might be in the market for new team members (or universities that have official eSports teams.) You will soon realize that eSports events are heavily slanted toward team competitions.

There are a few ways you can make money playing video games, and one VERY big way you can keep playing competitively in college.

1.  Purse Money From Competitions + Scholarships

Whether you enter as a single or part of a team, the target for every competition at the professional level is prize money—the more expensive a tournament or event, the bigger the prize monies.

Keeping in mind that you are just trying to make enough to pay for college, you are likely still in high school or a recent graduate. Since your attention is divided, you might have to limit the number of events or tournaments you enter. If that’s the case, you would have two options.

You could enter smaller tournaments with less-skilled players and try to take down smaller purses more frequently. Your other option would be to compete less often, enter more significant events (state, regional, national, or international), and hope for a bigger payout. However, they might be less frequent because of the higher level of competition.

Note: Purses are determined based on sponsorship deals and entry fees. Payouts are typically based on the number of individuals or teams participating.

If the opportunity arises to join a team, take it. A good team plays for more money and gets access to better sponsorship deals. You can also reach out to local universities in an effort to get your college recruitment kicked off. Many of the players on the Midland eSports Team started by filling out our recruitment questionnaire.

2.  Sponsorship Contracts

eSports is big business. Both participation and viewership numbers are growing by double-digit percentages year-over-year. With millions of participants and hundreds of millions of viewers tuning in for major televised eSports events, advertisers want in in a big way.

Yes, the popularity of eSports has led to substantial TV deals all over the globe, and the TV deals have led to a steady flow of sponsorship dollars coming into the industry. Some of that sponsorship money is being allocated to the players as individuals or part of teams. For a nice tidy contract, all players really have to do is drink eSports drinks (Red Bull, Coca Cola, Gatorade, gFuel) and use gaming merchandise from top eSports sponsors like EA Sports and Nintendo. Even the U.S Air Force sponsors eSports teams and events.

3.  Video Gaming Streaming

For a current student who has limited time for traveling and participating in eSports events, live streaming of gameplay might be the right call.

There is a “worldwide” streaming service called Twitch. It’s a software platform that allows video gamers to set up shop for a chance to charge viewers who are watching them play video games. There are other eSports streaming platforms available, but Twitch is running the show these days. To qualify as a Twitch streamer, you would need to meet the following criteria:

  • Been online streaming video games for at least 8 hours during the prior month
  • Been online streaming video games for at least seven days hours during the prior month
  • Average at least three viewers each session
  • Grow your following to at least 50 followers within the first 90 days

If you can meet these criteria, you would get the privilege of charging subscription fees of $4.99, $9.99, or $24.99 a month, with the revenue being split between you and Twitch. As part of Twitch’s service package, there are other ways to pick up a little extra money while playing video games.

Want A Career In eSports?

Are you considering a career in the eSports industry? The industry has grown to the point that some colleges in Canada and the U.S. offer credits for participating on their eSports team and sports marketing and management specific degrees.

If interested in continuing your passion for video games, you should contact Midland University regarding our eSports program. Scholarships are available for suitable applicants. Our team competes in Valorant, Leage of Legends, and Overwatch, with more planned for the future. Our gaming arena is top of the line and sponsored by HyperX.

It’s possible to turn your video gaming skill set into a money-maker to help you pay for your degree. But one thing is for sure; you would be the envy of all your friends while earning your way into a career by playing video games at the highest level.

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